Gradgrind’s was launched in 2016 by education professor and consultant Tom Liam Lynch to provide a single space where he could share interesting artifacts about learning, teaching, and education in all their variety and nuance. While individual bloggers and some news agencies do valuable work presenting education to the public, Tom felt that too much was getting lost, so he started posting resources for the students, teachers, and administrators with whom he worked. What it means to learn, to teach, and to educate children is wonderfully complex. It’s so much more than sensational headlines about some new technology or misbehaving adults or heated political rhetoric. Learning, teaching, and education merit exploring with greater roundness, blending history with the present, research with practice, policy with daily lives, silly with serious, and the specific with the eclectic.
In 2018, Tom began inviting others to contribute to Gradgrind’s, expanding from one person’s blog to a digital space where other voices could be amplified. The ultimate goal of Gradgrind’s is to help change the educational discourse so that we start asking better questions and start having better conversations about education regionally, nationally, and worldwide.
An English teacher at his core, Tom named the site after Mr. Gradgrind from Charles Dickens’ novel Hard Times. Well-known today for his emphasis on the need for “fact, fact, fact” in schools, by the end of the book Mr. Gradgrind learns that overemphasis on the observable, the factual, and the quantifiable left his own students and children shadows of themselves. Fancy and compassion are just as essential as fact. Mr. Gradgrind embodies what it means to be open to the possibility that anyone can learn more about learning, that first and foremost we have to know why we educate our children in the first place.
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